It’s weird. Whenever I have an upcoming trip planned and the days draw nearer to my departure, the more food I will eat from that culture. For example? Last year I had Japanese food almost everyday until my departure to Japan and Taipei. When I arrived back home in Vancouver, I made oyakodon right away and had Taiwanese beef noodle every week for a month.
So, I’m set to leave for Korea in just under three week’s time. How am I preparing for my trip? By watching an unhealthy amount of Eat Your Kimchi videos and consuming an unhealthy amount of Korean food. Kimchi jjigae has been on my regular rotation for the past two weeks but since the weather has finally started to warm up here, I opted for something spicy yet cool — bibimguksu.
Bibimguksu is a chilled Korean dish that consists of somyeon noodles plus a variety of toppings such as a hard boiled egg, cucumber, kimchi, and carrots and all married together by a spicy, sweet, and gochujang (hot pepper paste) -based sauce. Honestly, my favourite part would be the noodles. Somyeon noodles are a chewy, thin wheat noodle that can be used in chilled dishes or even in soups and stews. Its chewiness mixed in with the crunch of the raw vegetables and paired with this super spicy sauce make this dish so freakin’ addicting. Try not to eat the whole bowl.
I first had this dish a couple year’s back for a catch up dinner after the SFU Student Entrepreneur of the Year competition. Some of my SIFE friends (I guess it’s called Enactus now) who helped put on SEY invited me out to this random Korean restaurant in Surrey (YES, I DROVE ALL THE WAY OUT TO SURREY) that had the most amazing Korean fried chicken and bibimguksu! And beer. Lots of it. But back to the guksu. When I was looking through the menu, it was the first thing that caught my eye — the photo was gorgeous and really sold out. It showed the dish pre-mixed and all the ingredients were separated. Once mixed and at the table, I could not get enough of it. And I cannot wait until I get to try the real thing in just a few weeks!!!
So, if you can’t find somyeon noodles (got mine fresh at H-Mart for $5.99), feel free to use soba noodles. But one thing that I stress that you absolutely cannot substitute would be the gochujang. Gochujang has its own very unique taste. It’s sweet and spicy and its flavour is irreplaceable and cannot be imitated. Do not even think of substituting sriracha sauce with this. Don’t even go there. Also, try adding some organic mixed greens in this dish as well — good way to get your vitamins in a carb-y salad.
This should be enough to tide me over…for this week. Let the countdown begin!
What you’ll need:
– 1 pkg of fresh somyeon noodles
– 1 1/2 cucumbers, seeds removed and julienned
– 2 small carrots, julienned
– 1 1/2 cups kimchi, chopped
– 4 free range eggs, hardboiled and cut lengthwise in half
– Handful of chives or green onions, chopped
– Organic green salad (optional)
– Sesame seeds, for garnish
– 4 tbsp gochujang
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 2 tsps sesame oil
– 1 tsp soy sauce
– 2 tsps rice vinegar
– 1/8 cup kimchi juice
– 1 tbsp agave syrup
What you’ll need to do:
1. Boil some water and cook your somyeon noodles according to packaged directions. Drain, rinse in cold water, and set aside. Make sure your noodles do not stick together.
2. While your water boils/noodles cook, prepare the rest of your ingredients.
3. In a large bowl, dump your noodles and the rest of your ingredients except for the egg together. Whisk the ingredients for the sauce together in a small, separate bowl and pour onto noodles. Mix thoroughly until well combined.
4. Get your bowls ready and place a handful of salad in each bowl and portion noodles on top of each bowl of greens. Top with sesame seeds and hard boiled egg halves. Makes 6-8 servings.